Tag Archives: underground safety

Australia Mining

Australian Underground Mines Leading in Technology?

Australian Underground Mines Leading in Technology?

Australia Mining

Australia is known to harbor and promote an expansive mining industry. Due to its vast remoteness in much of the country and its devotion to working inclusively with aboriginal groups, the country has successfully exploited its mineral resources.

Because of this booming industry in Australia, many of the leading open-pit mining software and technology companies are based in the country. Not only is it a safe jurisdiction to mine in, Australia is also known as a business-friendly place for creative disruptors of technology within the industry. Now, with the presence of Newtrax, underground mining in Australia now has specific IoT solutions available to them with a team familiar to the region.

Simon Waghorn came to Newtrax in September of 2017 as the Regional Vice President for the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region which includes the former Soviet-Union to the Pacific Islands; Australia and New Zealand. Throughout his 25-year career in mining and industry technology, Simon gained knowledge in Operational Technology based solutions.

Simon was enticed to join the Newtrax team because of the little underground technology available. He found Newtrax technology to be innovative and in high demand. On top of that, he knew the management team was vibrant enough to make technology work in underground mines.

Simon has a focus on Australia, a major mining country, who is ahead of the curve in technology across the world.

“In Australia there is a significant uptake or at least a level of interest of these types of technologies and the value that they can deliver. We are seeing that from the Tier 1 players in the market, as well as the Tier 2 players predominantly in gold and copper. They are typically the leaders of these types of technologies.” says Simon.

Simon Waghorn
Simon Waghorn, VP APAC, Newtrax

The foundation of underground mining technologies does have roots from its open-pit neighbours. Technology in the open-pit has been advancing and adopted for quite a significant period of time. There has been a drive to try and push as much technology coming out of other industries into the open-pit with communications such as Wifi and LTE along with production software and asset management programs.

“Generically, those have been very successful and have added another level of professionalism to the open-pit. Saying that, it has become quite crowded in terms of the technologies that are there. Some big players have taken up major shares of those markets. In the underground mining technologies, however, there was very little,” he said.

In 2016 Newtrax placed its mark in underground mining technologies with the acquisition of the mining division of ISAAC Instruments Inc. From that moment, Newtrax became the world leader in Underground Mobile Equipment Telemetry.

Currently, in Australia, the Newtrax Mobile Equipment Telemetry (MET) system is being deployed in mines where fleets include different OEMs in order for the data of these mixed fleets to be collected and analyzed in one place. This MET system makes it easier and more cost efficient for mining companies to manage diversified equipment productivity.

For example, Simon and his Newtrax team are currently conducting a trial of this technology in a large block cave Australian mine. The mine site has a fleet of Sandvik loaders and a fleet of Caterpillar loaders. With the MET data loggers, the operational requirements of these loaders are the same. Now, with Newtrax, the same data can be collected from each fleet, put into a single database, and compared. This can contribute tremendously to operational optimizations, productivity,  detection of defects, and unplanned maintenance mine-wide.

Before the deployment of the MET system, the amount of data captured was limited. Operators would call into management and report where the truck was and what it was doing. Now, with the Newtrax Mobile Equipment Telemetry system, the operators are able to locate their vehicles directly on their screens, saving them a lot of time and cutting down tremendous costs.

These are only a few examples of how IoT systems can deliver value to the underground mining sector by increasing productivity and making the work environment safer.

Australia seems to be embracing this paradigm shift and is well-positioned to reap the benefits of being an early adopter of technologies that can make underground mines safer, more productive, and more environmentally friendly.

Newtrax europe and Middle East

Newtrax heads to Europe and the Middle East with the help of Charlie Forrest

Newtrax heads to Europe and the Middle East with the help of Charlie Forrest

Newtrax europe and Middle East

After 15 years of implementing technology solutions in various mining operations to improve productivity and safety underground, Charlie Forrest found himself a new position with Newtrax Technologies.

As the new VP of Europe and the Middle East for Newtrax, Charlie Forrest, talks about his focus on the mines in this area. “They want to improve, but they are just starting to look at digitization.” The opportunities for implementing innovative technology in mining in this new region are to instill safety and productivity by finding out where to cut down on costs and how to prevent accidents – digitally.

“Many of the mines in the area are looking at vehicle telemetry and payload as opportunities for technology in their mines,” he said. “Most countries are looking for a whole portfolio of solutions, but while gas monitoring and geotechnical monitoring is important, the main thing we can provide to these operations is our Mobile Equipment Telemetry (MET) systems.”

Newtrax Mobile Equipment Telemetry (MET) solutions gather data from mining equipment to gauge how each piece of this equipment is operating. The data collected will inform European & Middle Eastern mining companies how efficiently and effectively the equipment is currently being used. The ultimate goal is to increase productivity which will positively impact the bottom line by using the underground equipment in the most optimized way possible.

Scandinavian companies have already started adopting new technologies in underground mining, as they seem to be culturally less risk-averse than surrounding countries. The early adoption of LTE in Sweden and Finland is a good indicator that the trends in wireless networking will be doing towards that direction

Charlie Forrest
Charlie Forrest

IoT Challenges in the Region

Europe and the Middle East have many opportunities to improve when it comes to data acquisition from their underground mines. Charlie admits that implementing technology in countries that are behind on innovation can be difficult to achieve due to cultural sensitivities. Companies like Newtrax need to be present locally to better understand how each unique country perceives technology adoption and what their preferred course of action may be.

“It is all commodity driven in these areas right now,” said Charlie. “Turkey has quite a lot of gold and gold mines right now. Serbia is also opening up a number of mines. Multinational mining companies, like Rio Tinto, are also looking into the area to open operations. But, fortunately, Newtrax is active with many of these mines which makes working in a diversified region a bit easier.”

Taking highly technical equipment into different areas of the world can be a challenge as well. For instance, when equipment goes into Europe, it must be certified. There needs to be a CE sticker that goes on each safety device heading into the region. This is required to ensure the products being sold in the European Economic Area are within conformity of health, safety, and environmental protection standards. Newtrax is working closely with these mining companies to make sure all products conform to each country’s regulations and comply with all requirements needed to be safely deployed.

A Culture of Success in the Region

One of the first successes using technology in mining was the “Taking the Lid off” plan at Chelopech in Bulgaria. This project involved a wireless communications network that covered almost the entire mine. The network allowed the supervisors to plan up to three months in advance with detailed tasks to be completed. The managers sent the tasks to the operators through the wireless network which was received on a tablet. The equipment was tracked using tags inside cap lamps or vehicles. This way the supervisor could locate the operator.

Dundee Precious Metals CEO, Rick Howes, wrote in a 2016 press release, “Using wireless technologies for communications and location tracking, along with smart connected equipment and sensors, we now have the ability to see past rock to what is happening in real-time throughout the mine. This allows for far better decisions to be made about the use of resources to achieve our goal of safe and cost-effective production.

Although risks had to be taken to make these advances, they pale in comparison to the many other risks that mining faces as we operate in remote and undeveloped regions of the world. We’ve done so because we believe we need to in order to remain a step ahead.”

“Taking the Lid Off” was a big success years ago for the implementation of technology in mines. Forrest, a co-author of the industry-famous white paper of the project, mentioned it planted the seed globally for innovation but, still today, there are mines not using this proven technology.

Forrest is currently visiting and conducting demos in underground mines throughout Europe and the Middle East. The opportunities in that region are vast, and if there’s one person who is best-equipped to tackle the unique challenge of that market, it’s Charlie Forrest.

Stay tuned for our next blog post on the unique challenges and opportunities of the Africa region.

Newtrax CIM 2018

Join Newtrax at CIM Convention in Vancouver from May 6-9

Join Newtrax at the CIM Convention in Vancouver from May 6-9

Newtrax CIM 2018

Newtrax is attending and presenting at this year’s CIM Convention in Vancouver BC, taking place from May 6 to May 9 2018.

With over 5000 attendees expected to attend from over 40 countries, we are very excited to be meeting with our peers and talking about the future of digitization in the mining industry.

Technical Session: Tuesday May 8, 2:00 pm

Newtrax will be presenting during the Mining Equipment session of the Underground Mining stream on:

Tuesday May 8 at 2:00 pm in Room 112.

Improving Overall Equipment Effectiveness: Mobile Equipment Telemetry in Underground Mining

Make sure to come see the session!

GMSG Yacht Cruise

Newtrax is Sponsoring GMSG’s AGM & Social event, which is a 3-hour Yacht cruise along Vancouver’s coast for what is to be an inspiring evening of networking with leaders and innovators from across the mining industry!

Tuesday May 8, 2018 _> 5:30-8:30pm

Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre

Seaplane Terminal

1055 Canada Pl

Attendees will include the General Manager of Data Strategy at Rio Tinto, Helius Guimaraes, as well as  Michelle Ash, CIO at Barrick Gold.

If you are interested in attending this event with us, fill in our registration form and we will contact you if you are selected.

Improving Overall Equipment Effectiveness in Underground Mines

Improving Overall Equipment Effectiveness in Underground Mines with Newtrax

Improving Overall Equipment Effectiveness in Underground Mines with Newtrax

Improving Overall Equipment Effectiveness in Underground Mines

“Based on our benchmarking, we observe a global average overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) performance of 27 percent for underground mining, 39 percent for open-pit mining… compared with 92 percent for oil refining”

-McKinsey Global Institute 2016

The term “Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)” draws its origin from the manufacturing industry, and its importance to the underground mining industry is easily transferable.

Measuring Overall Equipment Efficiency for in underground mines is increasingly becoming best practice.  OEE is the single best metric for identifying losses, benchmarking progress, and improving the productivity of mining equipment (i.e., eliminating waste).

Most underground mines interested in digitizing their mines don’t start from a clean slate, and often grow with acquisitions. However, they frequently encounter stumbling blocks on their road to success which include:

  •      Lack of access to useful, standardized data from the entire fleet of heterogeneous, multi-OEM mix of mobile equipment. The equipment are instrumented with varying levels of electronic sensors and suffer from pre-processing and throttling of data on the telemetry port available to 3rd parties.
  •      Lack of real-time information from all faces, including development faces, due to various human and technical factors.  It can include requirements to backhaul data to surface over a heterogenous mix of communication backbones with low to high levels of technological maturity.
  •      Lack of actionable insights that can that can truly transform the way mine managers operate the mine, due to data overload and inability to connect the dots

To address these roadblocks, Newtrax has developed an array of OEE solutions for their clients and partners. Here are some examples of Newtrax OEE successes.

OEE Overall Equipment Effectiveness

Improved Hauling Efficiency: Case Study

A mining operation with a mixed fleet of mobile trucks, including CAT AD30s and Atlas MT436s, was looking for a solution to establish standardized payload monitoring systems. 

 Newtrax installed its Mobile Equipment Telemetry which interfaced with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM)’s existing sensor network. Newtrax also installed an availability switch, onboard payload scales, and an external/internal payload scoreboard. The payload information was retrofitted to display on the OEM’s load cells.

Four trucks were monitored closely for an eight week period with the approach to 1) Measure, 2) Manage, and 3) Improve using the traditional OEE calculation.

OEE = Availability(A)% x Utilization(U)% x Haulage Efficiency(Q)%

After the eight week period of data collection and observation, it was reported that Availability Time (A) was 93% and the Utilization Time (U) was 52% of the mine’s standard production time calendar. Analysis of the equipment’s payload data over the same time period showed a Haulage Efficiency (Q) of 64% with 19.4 tons out of 30 tons capacity.

These passively measured data points showed the operations OEE being 31%.

The Haulage Efficiency data point became a key area of focus to improve efficiencies in the workflow.

SOLUTION:

To improve truck effectiveness, Newtrax proposed an increase in dumper bed wall height to accommodate extra buckets, an addition of digital scoreboards on the trucks’ cab for LHD, and an activation of an alarm system on each truck to initiate an overloading situation warning.

Newtrax Scoreboard Payload

Conclusion

  • You can’t improve what you can’t measure.
  • Technology is available to overcome stumbling blocks and enable management of mixed equipment fleets using timely data from active areas
  • Offering actionable insight to both mine managers and operators can deliver significant value in a short period of time
  • Improved haulage efficiency will ensure UG mining effectiveness increased above 27%
Newtrax office APAC Perth Australia

Newtrax Moves APAC Regional HQ to Larger Premises in Perth, Australia

Newtrax Moves APAC Regional HQ to Larger Premises in Perth, Australia

Newtrax has moved its APAC Regional HQ to the beautiful Parmelia House at 191 St Georges Tce, in Perth, Western Australia.

The need to move was driven by the significant increase in staffing levels that has occurred since Newtrax opened its APAC offices in 2016.  The Perth HQ is home to both Business Development and Technology Delivery functions including regional service and support.

“Newtrax’s APAC business has seen triple figure year on year growth since entering the Australian market and is positioning itself for further growth by taking on larger premises in Australia’s mining capital city.  We have acquired a significant number of important clients in the past 12 months and are seeing increasing pull from the entire APAC region.”  said Simon Waghorn, APAC Regional Vice President.

Newtrax has established itself as the leader in the Underground Mining technology sector in the Asia-Pacific region, especially for Production Monitoring and Proximity Warning systems. Its Mobile Equipment Telemetry (MET) system which is network agnostic has been proven to deliver value to the industry, especially when it comes to network connectivity at the face for accurate data collection.

Gold Fields St Ives Select Newtrax

Gold Fields Selects Newtrax To Improve Health, Safety and Productivity at Invincible South

Gold Fields Selects Newtrax To Improve Health, Safety and Productivity at Invincible South

Gold Fields St Ives Select Newtrax

Perth, Australia – April, 2018 — Newtrax Technologies Inc. (‘Newtrax’) – the leading provider of IoT solutions for underground hard rock mines – has been selected by Gold Fields to provide a mine-wide Tracking and Proximity Detection system at the Invincible underground mine at its St Ives operations.

Located near Lake Lefroy in the prolific gold-producing Eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia, St Ives produces over 360,000 ounces per annum from its open pit and underground operations, making it one of the leading gold producers in Australia.  The Invincible mine, a successful open pit which transitioned to underground operations in 2017, is set to be Gold Fields’ mine of the future, envisioned to be fully autonomous and remotely operated.

The Newtrax Personnel and Equipment Tracking solution, which runs on the patented MineHop network, will be deployed on all of St Ives Invincible underground equipment, and used by all underground miners.

The Newtrax Proximity Detection system utilizes MineProx’ssub-GHz RF technology to create a peer-to-peer network of equipment and miners. Not only does it give out proximity warnings, the system also provides alerts to loader operators that a truck is on its way even before it appears in its line of sight, enabling operators to prepare for the truck and improve mine production.

Gold Fields is actively investigating disruptive technology options across all of their mines, and Newtrax is proud to be partnering with them on their innovation journey.

“It’s fantastic to see Gold Fields selecting Newtrax once again, to help increase safety and productivity in their mines. We’ve been working with each other for a number of years at many of their sites including South deep in South Africa, St. Ives and Granny Smith. Now it’s our chance to contribute once again to Gold Fields technology roadmap.”, said Simon Waghorn, Vice President APAC, Newtrax.

System implementation is expected to begin in autumn of 2018.

 

About Newtrax

Newtrax customers are the largest producers of metals in the world and their underground hard rock mechanized mines rely on Newtrax systems to save lives, reduce costs and increase production with unprecedented levels of real-time data from machines, people and the environment.

info@newtrax.com

www.newtrax.com

Machine Learning Mining World Russia 2018

Newtrax Attends Mining World Russia For the First Time

Newtrax Presents on Machine Learning at Mining World Russia 2018

Mining World Conference 2018

The Newtrax Russian team made a big impression at this year’s Mining World Russia in Moscow.

It would our first time attending this excellent show, and we were very excited to deliver our presentation on Machine Learning in Underground Mining.

Colorado School of Mines Engineering Days

Newtrax Gives Back to the Colorado School of Mines

Newtrax Gives Back to the Colorado School of Mines

Colorado School of Mines Engineering Days

Colorado School of Mines (CSM) is an academic leader in mining and geophysical engineering. The courses at CSM are rigorous and rewarding. Some of the most successful leaders in the mining industry have roots in this institution.

Despite its high standards in academic study and professional placement, CSM student are welcomed to campus with an awareness of the campus traditions and history, unique to any other university in the globe. Although the academic foundations of the campus are found underground in the study of earth’s resources and engineering, the aspirations of every CSM student is to find success in continuous improvement of these timely skills and the knowledge which comes with a CSM degree.

Although the curriculum can be challenging, students and faculty at CSM also take the time every year to celebrate the traditions of the campus.

“Since 1934, CSM students have put the stress of studying aside each spring to celebrate Engineering Days (E-Days), uniting the local Mines community in honor of our unique history, traditions, and unflappable Oredigger spirit!”

CSM held it’s E-Days events this past weekend, April 13-15.  Among the festivities were the “Mining Contests” which allow engineering students to experience some of what many miners do every day at work. The contest includes four events; hand-mucking (shoveling gravel into an ore car), swede-sawing (cutting a piece of timber with a crosscut saw), hand-steeling (drilling holes by hand with a chisel-bit and a hammer) and jackleg drilling (using a pneumatic handheld machine to drill a hole in a rock).

Newtrax COO and CSM graduate, Larry Clark, has been “professionally” competing in these events for nearly four decades. He has been volunteering as judge and coordinator for the E-Days jackleg drilling mining event for over ten years.  It is a great opportunity for Mr. Clark to engage with the next generation of engineering talent, encourage them to consider mining as a career, and to give back to an industry and university which has been so rewarding for him.

This year, fifteen students from various disciplines were given a safety introduction, instruction on operating a jackleg and the bone-rattling experience of drilling a hole in a rock. The jackleg, in this case a Gardner-Denver model 83, weighs about 140 lbs with the 4-foot drill steel inserted. The student must lift the jackleg from the ground, insert the steel, move the drill to the rock 10ft away, “collar” the hole (get the drill bit seated in the rock), drill the full length of the steel, pull the drill and steel out of the rock and place the drill and steel back to where they began. No small feat for anyone unfamiliar with this piece of equipment.

The students receive instruction before they begin the event that focuses on the safe operation of the equipment to ensure that safety is top-of-mind. It is with great pride that, in the many events Mr. Clark has judged at CSM, no one has suffered any injury (aside from some bruised egos).

Newtrax employees are pleased to assist in these types of events. We believe strongly in “giving back” to our communities and institutions, in the same manner many of our mining clients give back to theirs.

Mining Magazine Cover Newtrax: The Future of Mining

Newtrax Makes the Cover of Mining Magazine’s ‘The Future of Mining’ Issue!

Newtrax Makes the Cover of Mining Magazine's 'The Future of Mining' Issue!

Mining Magazine Cover Newtrax: The Future of Mining

Newtrax is featured front and center on the cover of Mining Magazine’s April issue entitled  The Future of Mining! In the full-length article on page 28, we talk about building the Digital Nervous Systems for undergrouns mines that will enable better prediction and decision-making using Machine Learning algorithms and Artificial Intelligence.

Read the full article below and don’t forget to get yourself a cope of the print magazine to read all the other interesting articles in this exciting issue.

The mining industry is starting to take interest in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, thanks to big data collected by tech-providers like Newtrax.

Productivity in underground mining has recently seen a significant increase by using sensor data (Internet-of-Things) to react to real-time events that can disrupt the workflow of the mine and cause gaps between a manager’s plan and the actual work completed.

One of the most efficient ways of using this captured data is to feed it to Machine Learning algorithms to reap tangible benefits such as reducing interruption of drilling and haulage, predicting breakdown of mobile equipment, predicting potential bottlenecks in real-time, and providing early notifications of hazards.

What has been established is that Machine Learning algorithms typically use Tensor Processing Units (TPUs) to learn and identify patterns using large datasets, without being explicitly programmed to do so. For example, an Artificial Intelligence bot monitoring all vehicle sensor data can become exponentially better at predicting the moment of an undesired breakdown of the transmission of a truck.

“We learned early on that Machine Learning breakthroughs are achieved through the use of good training datasets, and that algorithms support good data and not the other way around” said Michel Dubois, Vice President QA, Newtrax.  

With more than 75 underground mines on all continents, Newtrax sensor-based solutions have captured years of big data on real-time events tied to mining vehicles, personnel and the underground environment. By digitizing underground mines with this sensor-based “nervous system”, Newtrax is equipping its clients with the tools to enable optimization with Machine Learning.    

Indeed, mimicking the human brain requires very sophisticated tools. However, Machine Learning algorithms are on their way to becoming IT commodities and the challenge is moving towards better training data prepared by industry-specific business analysts.

Since March 2017, Newtrax Technologies has partnered with Montreal-based Institute for Data Valorisation (IVADO), the largest researcher consortium in Canada in Data Science, Artificial Intelligence and Operations Research. Together, they have spearheaded Machine Learning pilot-projects for underground mines using open-source algorithms. The objective of these projects is to test the quality of existing datasets in order to better understand the extent to which they will bring value to underground mining customers.

Michel Dubois was part of a pillar research center of IVADO, and has now spent the last 7 years at Newtrax in the mining industry. “It’s certainly an advantage to have years of experience on both sides of the equation: researcher in applied mathematics for Artificial Intelligence, and practitioner in underground mining.”

Newtrax is currently focused on an algorithm for vehicle maintenance using the vehicles’ hundreds of sensors to try to predict when components will break or fai. “We have some preliminary results in one mine site in North America and it’s looking very promising.” said Dubois.

Newtrax is helping mines understand their IoT data needs leading the way to a fit-for-purpose ‘Nervous System’ underground that allows for timely and appropriate reaction upon complex real-time events.

With that ‘Nervous system’ producing quality datasets, Newtrax customers can start unlocking unprecedented capabilities to optimize their underground operations.

Newtrax customers data is anonymized, labeled and converted into facts tables and dimensional tables (star schemas, centipede schemas, and more) so that Machine Learning algorithms can consume the information. Newtrax is becoming the expert in quality of data for Machine Learning with a variety of data detection and improvement techniques which are purpose-built for the mining industry and its business cases. Each customer’s data is different. The combination of all these different datasets creates new knowledge that Machine Learning leverages. Value goes back to each customer benefitting from problems being solved at an international level for underground mining.

“Without a doubt, Newtrax technologies, the world leader in big data from underground hard rock mines, holds a unique worldwide position to driving value for its customers through Machine Learning. Newtrax is fortunate to be already working in core operations with leaders in underground mining worldwide, we already have hands-on experience capturing and managing big data from underground mines, and we work with world-class technology and research partners. It’s an honor to be part of the digital revolution in mining.” – concludes Dubois.

Interview with : Michel Dubois, Vice President QA,Newtrax

Mathematician, PhD candidate in Engineering

Charlie Forrest

Newtrax Appoints Charlie Forrest as VP of Europe and the Middle East

Newtrax Appoints Charlie Forrest as VP of Europe and the Middle East

Charlie Forrest

London, United Kingdom – April, 2017 — Newtrax Technologies Inc. (‘Newtrax’), the mining industry’s leading provider of safety and productivity enhancing solutions for underground hard rock mines is pleased to announce the appointment of Charlie Forrest as Vice President of Europe and the Middle East effective immediately.

Mr. Forrest has 15 years of experience working globally with clients to implement technology solutions to improve productivity across the entire mining process. He is a graduate in Management of Information Systems and holds an MBA.

Under Mr. Forrests’ leadership, Newtrax will be expanding its footprint in the European and Middle Eastern markets, where underground mines are eager to digitize their mines quickly and effectively. With key client implementations already in the region, Newtrax is well-equipped to solidify its position as a top provider of safety and productivity systems in the world.